Electricity Rate Increases

Your article on the Department of Water and Power rate increases (July 11) includes the statement that the "average ratepayer" would pay $29.92 rather than $28.65 per month under the new rates. These amounts are derived from the contention, which I have seen before, that the average customer uses 400 kilowatt-hours per month. That value is open to serious question.

Four hundred kilowatt-hours per month amounts to 13 kwh per day. My own electric usage during the winter months is in the 20-25 kwh/day range. I have a fairly modest house (1,250 square feet), and, while I may not be the most frugal person around, I would certainly not call myself profligate. Beyond my own experience, let's make some rough estimates. A refrigerator using 250 watts running for 24 hours uses 6 kwh. A furnace blower also rated 250 watts running for, say 12 hours, uses 3 kwh. And 500 watts worth of lighting used six hours represents 3 kwh. So we have a total of 12 kwh for what must be termed a subsistence level of usage. And don't forget that to arrive at an average of 13 kwh/day, a great many people must use much less to balance those who use more. To oversimplify greatly, if I use 20 kwh per day, someone else has to be using six.

If 400 kilowatt-hours per month is not a credible average usage during the months of minimal usage, it is even less so as a year-around average. I would very much like to know the basis for the DWP's claim. Could it be that the DWP has been blithely quoting, and the media blithely reporting, figures that are decades out of date?

STEPHEN G. ZANK

Studio City

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